Top Ten

December 22, 2015

uCalgary, Cannon cleared of wrongdoing in Enbridge investigation

An independent review has cleared the University of Calgary and its President, Elizabeth Cannon, of any wrongdoing in the creation of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability (formerly the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability). “Nobody from the university was found to have done anything inappropriate in the context of our policies and procedures, or in the context of academic freedom,” uCalgary Board Vice-Chair Gord Ritchie told CBC. The review, conducted by retired Justice Terrence McMahon, concluded “unequivocally that Dr Cannon’s involvement in matters arising from the operation of the Enbridge Centre was proper, responsible and required of her as president to protect the reputation of the University of Calgary as an institution that honours its commitment to donors.” CBC | Globe and Mail | CTV News | Metro | Calgary Herald | uCalgary

Manitoba PSE institutions sign Indigenous Education Blueprint

Nine of Manitoba’s universities and colleges have signed the province’s Indigenous Education Blueprint in an effort to comprehensively implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The blueprint’s goal is to use the next five years to “transform Manitoba into a global centre of excellence for indigenous education, research, languages and culture,” according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Signatories of the agreement are Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, Canadian Mennonite University, the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Red River College, University College of the North, the University of Manitoba, the Université de Saint-Boniface, the University of Winnipeg, and the Manitoba School Boards Association. Winnipeg Free Press

uOttawa faculty union sues over administrative pay raises

The Association of Professors at the University of Ottawa has taken exception to raises given to two senior administrators, contending that they violate a province-wide freeze on public sector wages. After receiving what in their view was an insufficient response from the university and from the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, according to the Ottawa Citizen, the association is taking its case to court. “We were so, you could say, ‘insulted’ at the lack of response from the board of governors, and even the minister, that one of the only ways left to get the information we want, and to figure out if this was legal or illegal, was to bring it to the courts,” said Association of Professors Presient Jennifer Dekker. “We’ve read the law. We think it’s illegal.” In a letter to uOttawa’s board, President Allan Rock said that “the salaries provided to our executives remain compliant with provincial law.” Ottawa Citizen

Critics wary of current frameworks for campus “indigenization”

As many PSE institutions seek out new attempts to “indigenize” their campuses and provide more Indigenous-themed programming, Douglas Quan of the National Post notes there are some critics who think these efforts are more complex than they have been made out to be. The spectrum of critique is wide and varied, spanning those who believe that mandatory Indigenous-themed programming will become an empty “pro forma” gesture to those who are concerned that some approaches to history will further entrench deep cultural antagonisms. Yet Wab Kinew, the University of Winnipeg’s Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Affairs, reminds readers that, “I appreciate the input that critical theory can make building an insight in the indigenous space, but we shouldn’t use those things as an excuse for inaction.” National Post

Pathway programming for international PSE students improving, yet challenges remain

New research estimates that there are currently 10,600 international students enrolled in Canadian “pathway programs” and that this number will reach 17,500 by 2020, reports the Canadian Bureau for International Education. The article notes that nearly 30% of all international undergraduates enrolling in Canadian universities come via pathway programs, which are designed to offer these students the language and cultural skills they will need to function in Canadian PSE. The article also notes that although Canada has had recent success in the coordination of its pathway programs, it still lags behind world leaders like Australia and the UK in key areas. The Pie News

Concordia student alleges she was assaulted by undercover officer at anti-austerity protest

A Concordia University student who is suing the Montreal police claims that she was assaulted by an undercover officer pretending to be part of an anti-austerity demonstration last Friday evening. The student claims that she was pushed to the ground after informing fellow protesters that she recognized a police officer among a group of protesters wearing black clothing and masks. The student is currently suing the city and police over the $6.5 K in fines she received while participating in student protests in 2012. On Saturday, Police Constable Louis Héroux said that while inserting undercover officers into protests is not a standard practice, the department will use it when it judges that “certain protests might go sour.” When asked about the alleged assault, Héroux said that he was unable to obtain specific information about the incident. Montreal Gazette

Langara signs MOU with TDSB to benefit adult learners, newcomers, and international students

Langara College and the Toronto District School Board signed an MOU to provide a seamless pathway for TDSB adult learners. This agreement offers new opportunities in postsecondary education for for newcomers to Canada and international students currently attending TDSB adult high schools and ESL centers. TDSB students who have completed grade 11 and 12 English courses at TDSB, and who have completed secondary education in or outside of Canada, are eligible to be admitted to Langara. “Working together enables us to provide our international learners programming with clear learning outcomes,” said TDSB International Recruitment Manager Omar Awara. Langara

uLethbridge creates two new PhD offerings

The University of Lethbridge has announced that it will offer two new doctoral degree programs, the first of their kind at the university, beginning in September 2016. These programs will be the PhD in Population Studies in Health and the master’s and PhD in Cultural, Social and Political Thought. “We’ve offered graduate studies here at the U of L for more than 30 years and now, for the first time, we have doctoral programs in the social sciences, the health sciences and the humanities,” said Robert Wood, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. uLethbridge

Students are “behaving like consumers,” argues anonymous UK academic

“All I’m asking for is a little respect seeing as I pay you £9,000 a year.” So read a poster campaign in an unnamed British university, leading an anonymous academic, writing in The Guardian, to observe: “I could not help but become annoyed at the blunt, consumerist language.” Continuing this theme, they argue that “these young people weren’t behaving like university students, they were behaving like customers.” The article concludes with a fanciful response: “Hey student—all I’m asking for is a little respect, seeing as how much you pay makes no difference to my wages, yet the level of support I am forced to offer you takes up 80% of my time despite the fact that teaching still only equates to 33% of my workload. But I’ll be in the office until 9pm anyway because if I don’t publish two papers by the end of the year, I’ll be fired.” The Guardian

Messaging matters for US colleges seeking to attract, support low-income students

While some colleges make significant efforts to recruit and support low-income students, the manner in which these colleges describe those programs can have a significant impact on students, according to a new paper. When messages from a college have a “warm” tone toward potential low-income students, says lead author Alex S Bowman, these students’ confidence is stronger than when a college has a “chilly” tone toward these same students. Bowman goes on to give examples of these tones, and concludes that some colleges with admirable support for low-income students might inadvertently undermine this support with improper messaging. Chronicle of Higher Education  (Subscription Required)